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Labor market assessment, reintegration of returnees: Senegal, The Gambia, Nigeria, Mali, Niger

Since instability broke out in Tripoli, irregular migration from West Africa towards Europe has surged. Though precise figures are hardly available, migration flows from Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and the Gambia have increased and these countries are the first areas of departure in West Africa, specifically Kati and Kayes in Mali, Zinder in Niger, Lagos and Edo in Nigeria, Tambacounda and Kolda in Senegal, Brikama and Kanifing in the Gambia.

Migrants transiting in Niger toward Libya move for the same reasons: a lack, or perceived lack, of livelihood opportunities and the prospect of earning more money in Europe. Unemployment and underemployment are widespread across the five countries and the economy has been unable to supply jobs for the growing youth population. Historical migration flows from the same regions also suggest cultural factors behind the decision to move. Finally, specific trafficking and/or smuggling networks lead some regions to produce more migrants.This is the case for Edo in Nigeria where, over the last few decades, women have been trafficked into Europe for sex trade.

These migration flows bear significant effects on the socio-economic fabric of the communities of origin. Remittances are a main source of revenue for families and, at the microeconomic level, they allow households to fulfil their basic needs and purchase food and essential items.
In Nigeria, some evidence even indicates that remittances can help bolster social mobility. However, previous research also shows that remittances may keep people from taking risks and starting their own business activities. Emigration also drives youth potential away from their country of origin, and may have a negative impact on economic prospects, though this opportunity cost is difficult to quantify.

Prepared by Altai Consulting for IOM | Niger – November 2016

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Altai teams operate in more than 25 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. Since its inception 13 years ago, Altai Consulting has developed a strong focus on migration and labour market related research and program evaluations.

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